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Five AMD 890FX-Based Motherboards Compared

Test Settings

Test System Configuration
CPUAMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition 3.40 GHz, 6 MB Cache
RAMKingston KHX2133C9D3T1K2/4GX (4 GB) DDR3-2133 at DDR3-1333 CAS 7-7-7-20
GraphicsSapphire Radeon HD 5850 1 GB 725 MHz GPU, GDDR5-4000
Hard DriveWestern Digital Velociraptor WD3000HLFS, 300 GB 10,000 RPM, SATA 3Gb/s, 16 MB cache
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
CoolingRosewill FORT120
PowerCorsair CMPSU-850HX 850W Modular ATX12V v2.2, EPS12V, 80-Plus Gold
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Graphics and ChipsetAMD Catalyst 10.4

With too few Phenom II X6 1090T hexa-core CPUs floating around to get one into every tester’s hands, today’s motherboards were evaluated using a C3 stepping Phenom II X4. High overclocks are the goal, with hopes that these will further define various motherboard capabilities.

Using a 1.45 V core for our overclocking tests, Rosewill’s FORT120 CPU cooler keeps our CPU core well below 55 degrees Celsius at full load.

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA Test Set 2: Very High Quality, 4x AA
DiRT 2 DemoIn-game benchmark Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 4x AA
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2Campaign, Act III, Second Sun (45 sec. FRAPS) Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of PripyatCall Of Pripyat Benchmark version Test Set 1: High Preset, DirectX 11 EFDL, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, DirectX 11 EFDL, 4x MSAA
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion:9.0.2.25 x64 Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min Default format AAC
Handbrake 0.9.4Version 0.9.4, convert first .vob file from "The Last Samurai" (1.0GB) to .mp4, High Profile
TMPEGEnc 4.0 XPressVersion: 4.7.3.292 Import File: "Terminator 2" SE DVD (5 Minutes) Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX Codec 6.9.1Encoding mode: Insane Quality Enhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4 Quarter-pixel search
XviD 1.2.2Display encoding status = off
MainConcept Reference 1.6.1MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 KHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS)
Productivity
Adobe Photoshop CS4Version: 11.0 x64, Filter 15.7MB TIF Image Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2010Version: 11.0 x64, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 9.0Version: 9.0.663, Virus base: 270.14.1/2407, Benchmark: Scan 334MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
WinRAR 3.90Version x64 3.90, Dictionary = 4,096KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334MB)
7-ZipVersion 4.65: Format=Zip, Compression=Ultra, Method=Deflate, Dictionary Size=32KB, Word Size=128, Threads=8 Benchmark: THG-Workload (334MB)
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.0.1, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.0.1.0 x64, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2010Version 2010.1.16.11, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.